Military Bios

Brigadier General Harry N. Cordes:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired July 1, 1973.   Died May 10, 2004.
Brig. Gen. Harry N. Cordes is deputy chief of staff for intelligence, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. In this position he is responsible for SAC's worldwide intelligence activities including estimates, reconnaissance, systems and targets.
General Cordes was born in 1922 in West Point, Ga. He graduated from the Decatur, Ga., high school in 1939 and attended Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., from 1939 to 1941. In September 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and later entered navigation training under the aviation cadet program. Upon graduation in October 1943, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
He was initially assigned as a navigation instructor at San Marcos Army Air Field, Texas. In January 1945 he entered Radar Observation School at Langley Field, Va. In May 1945 he was assigned to a B-24 aircraft ferret crew.
In 1946 General Cordes participated in the first atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. From 1946 to 1949 he was assigned to the 509th Bombardment Group, Roswell Air Force Base, N.M., as a radar observer on a B-29 crew. His crew won the first annual SAC bombing competition in 1948. He entered pilot training in August 1949 and when he graduated in 1950 returned to the 509th Group as a pilot and was later aircraft commander of a B-50. In 1954 he attended transition training in the all-jet B-47 and then served as an aircraft commander, flight commander and operations officer with the 321st Bombardment Wing at McCoy Air Force Base, Fla.
From March 1956 to January 1958 General Cordes served as an operations staff officer and later commander of a reconnaissance squadron. He then attended the Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. After graduation in June 1959, he was assigned as an intelligence staff officer and later chief of penetration analysis, Air Estimate Division, Directorate of Intelligence, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. From July 1962 until August 1965 he served as chief of the Penetration Analysis Section, National Strategic Target List Division of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff.
In August 1966 General Cordes graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. He then was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Directorate of Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, where he served in the Force Planning Division as assistant deputy director for force development and later as deputy director.
General Cordes assumed duties as deputy chief of staff, intelligence, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in April 1970.
He graduated from the Omaha University with a bachelor degree in 1963, and received his master's degree from The George Washington University in 1966. He is a command pilot and senior navigator. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters and Army Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective July 1, 1970, with date of rank June 6, 1970.


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